Friday 7 August 2009

Time for change at GHA Ltd

Council-run housing in Glasgow was huge, bureaucratic and saddled with historic post-war debt, but it was democratic. Who would have suggested we take that huge public body and write of its £1bn debt, inject £900m of public subsidy, and create an equally massive, yet undemocratic, private company?

Fast forward six years from Glasgow's housing stock transfer and that is what has come to pass with the Glasgow Housing Association Ltd (GHA). It is essentially the council without the councillors.

Stock transfer was all about the creation of smaller, community controlled, housing associations. Associations which could respond to local need. Associations run by tenants for tenants.

The notion of 'community ownership' was the unique selling point of housing stock transfer. Tenants voted for it, and tenants are entitled to it. The only stumbling block is the Board of the GHA.

Govan Law Centre believes the GHA is a ship lost at sea. The failure of the GHA lies in its Board and its senior management team. They have the wrong vision, the wrong ethos, and are travelling in the wrong direction. They must be pushed overboard.

Scotland's Housing Minister can use his statutory powers to appoint a new Board and senior management team.

The GHA is bankrolled by the taxpayer. Taxpayer and tenants are entitled to demand that the GHA is transformed into genuine community-controlled housing associations across the City as a matter of urgency.

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